The thought of taking an adventure sounds whimsical and almost far-fetched in this post-lockdown society. With all the things that have happened and the major changes that the world has faced within the last three years, a fun escape to a new, undiscovered place sounds like the perfect idea. I should be excited, but I feel the opposite. I’m really into astrology (as most are) and I’m a Sagittarius (sun and rising). As a Sagittarius, our most known trait is how much we love to travel, explore, escape, and adventure. However, the thought of putting myself out there and exploring a new facet of the world seems stressful, scary, impractical, and almost impossible. I thought I was alone in my thinking. But when talking with some of my peers, I realized that was not the case. Many of my friends seemed overwhelmed and almost irritated about leaving our comfort zone. When discussing the pros and cons of going out, we filled the cons list with valid concerns and critiques, making the pros seem silly and not worth the effort. Even after a majority of lockdown restrictions have lifted, people are still feeling isolated from others and connected to their routines. How can we navigate a new adventure in life while having conflicting feelings and anxiety about leaving?
You Are Not Alone
Although it is cliché and may not feel useful, it is true. You are not alone in your increased feelings of anxiety. We are more isolated than we have ever been before. The lasting effects of COVID-19 have caused a 25% global increase in anxiety and depression, affecting young adults and women the most (link). In-person interactions are becoming less relevant to professional and academic spaces, leaving people with fewer opportunities to connect. You typically have to make a larger effort to have an in-person connection, which can be difficult. Personally, I have found it harder to connect with other students in my college courses with a majority of my classes being online.
Even though this new remote way of life has created so many opportunities, it becomes easier to isolate yourself and get caught up in your routine. Other outside factors can also make it difficult to be adventurous, such as financial restrictions, school obligations, work schedules, and not having access to community resources. Any and all of these things are valid. Life is often difficult, even without these outside factors. Having to juggle personal and professional pursuits, while also trying to be a functioning member of society, can be overwhelming. So, trying to add something as impractical as an adventure might be too much. It is okay to feel this way and your thoughts are valid.
You Can Only Grow in the Sunlight
Even though leaving your routine and going on an adventure can seem illogical or nerve-racking, it is necessary in order to grow and learn as a human. Handling new experiences can help with our cognitive flexibility. Cognitive flexibility is the ability to be mentally flexible and adaptable. The more cognitively flexible we are, the more we can cope with new environments and challenging situations (link). This allows us to become better problem solvers, be creative, and accept change. All of these factors go into improving your overall mental health and well-being. An adventure can be a great opportunity to learn more about yourself, connect with others around you, and allow you to foster your knowledge and create new opportunities for you.
While it can be overwhelming to leave your comfort zone, it is a necessary step to improve your mental health. One’s commitment to their own mental well-being is a very underrated aspect of self-love that is not always highlighted. Similarly, to adventures, self-love is seen and advertised as something that has to be luxurious. When in actuality, it’s as simple and common as maintaining consistent care for your mental and physical body.
When I think of adventures, I think about traveling to a new place, meeting new people, and experiencing things that I have never done before. Some days, that sounds great! Most days, that sounds like a sensory overload and an expense I can’t afford. So, how can we compromise with these two factors?
Something I found helpful was scaling down my idea of adventure to make it fit my life. I can’t always travel to a new city, but I can try a local coffee shop instead of my usual Starbucks run. I have the opportunity to meet new people and try something new. All of those elements constitute an adventure to me. Although it’s no cruise to the Caribbean, it’s a small, manageable adventure that has added some variety to my day.
These small adventures can lead to you learning more about yourself, what you like, and what matters to you. I found some of my favorite spots in the city by just walking in and having an open mind.
Going to an on-campus or local event that you have never been to is another fun and manageable adventure. Here at LYF, we have events all over the valley. Our events are a safe space that promotes self-love, love of the world, and love of the people around you. So, maybe make us your next adventure!
Taking a small adventure can be a wonderful act of self-love. It can be an opportunity to learn something new about yourself, reconnect with your inner child, and bring in more creativity and whimsical energy that may have been lost. Self-love isn’t always grand, and neither is the path to wellness. If things seem overwhelming, try to scale it to a manageable size and start there. Who knows, your next adventure might be right around the corner.
What are some other ways to make your routine an adventure? Maybe trying out a new beauty product, visiting a new restaurant you’ve been meaning to try, or even listening to a new genre of music? Feel free to comment your ideas.
About The Author
Jameela Johnson is a Senior at UNLV, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English in May 2023. After graduation, she plans on pursuing her Juris Doctor degree. In her free time, she enjoys reading fantasy novels, tarot cards, and being a dog mom to an eight-year-old chihuahua named Hazel.